Brussels, 8 August 2012
Madagascar: European Union to resume its development aid and target health and education of the most vulnerable people
As Madagascar gradually emerges from three years of political unrest, European development aid programmes are starting up again. The European Union has adopted a new aid plan focusing on health, education and strengthening civil society. This aid will be implemented at regional level through local and international NGOs, international organisations such as UNICEF, and directly by the European Union.
As Andris Piebalgs, the Development Commissioner, explained: ‘The political instability and economic crisis have had a dramatic impact on the people of Madagascar. Our new programmes will concentrate efforts on health, education and the role of civil society to help the most disadvantaged people and enable the country to move forward on the path of dynamic development.’
Access to health and education will be improved particularly in the regions of Sava, Analanjirofo, Menabe, Atsimo-Andrefana and Anosy, for example by training and recruiting additional specialist staff and re-equipping health centres in the most inaccessible areas.
In the education sector, schools built by local authorities often lack the necessary staff and basic equipment. The programmes to be implemented will focus on training teaching staff and administrators, providing funding to pay the salaries of 9 000 teachers (particularly those recruited by pupils’ parents) and purchasing teaching material (school kits, supplies, etc.).
Finally the support programme for civil society aims to assist emerging players in civil society, with particular attention being paid to women’s groups and youth associations. These must be able to exert more influence on the political questions that directly concern them, such as education, access to care, governance and the management of public finances.
The total allocation for the new plan is €54 million, of which €22 million will go towards health, €22 million to education and the remaining €10 million to support for civil society organisations.
Official development aid was suspended by almost all donors in 2009 as a result of the unconstitutional change of power. This has led to a reduction in the funds available for providing basic social services. The country has also experienced an economic slowdown because of the international financial crisis.
Both health and education have suffered chronic under-investment since the crisis. Maternal mortality, for example, is approximately 500 deaths per 100 000 births, or three times the MDG target for 2015 of 165 deaths per 100 000 births.
The picture in the education sector is far from satisfactory: approximately 10% of children aged 7 have never been to school, a quarter of children do not attend primary school and less than half of those who start primary school complete their primary education (five years of study).